August 2007 Titles from Allison and Busby

Margaret Irwin: Young Bess

Growing up in the shadow of her dead mother, the infamous Anne Boleyn, young Princess Elizabeth has learnt to be continuously on the watch for the political games played out around her. It is never certain when one might rise in, or precariously fall out of, royal favour. When her distant father, Henry VIII, dies, the future brightens for Elizabeth. She is able to set up a home with Henry's last wife, Katherine Parr, who now has a new husband, Tom Seymour. Tom, however, is playing a risky game. Marrying a widowed queen is one thing, flirting with the King's daughter and second in line to the throne is another. As the adolescent Elizabeth finds herself dangerously attracted to him, danger encroaches upon herself and the kingdom... This first book of Irwin's historical trilogy about the life of 'Good Queen Bess' confirms the author's status as one of the most successful historical writers of the last century.

C J Emerson: Objects of Desire

A new life in Wales has not turned out to be the rural fantasy that social worker Jess imagined when she left London. Having put the memories of her previous harrowing cases behind her, she had hoped to embark on a simpler, more fulfilling future, but it seems there's no escape from evil, even in such a beautiful landscape. Just as Jess takes on a new case, she learns that the body of a young boy has been found in the woods close to her home. Her worst nightmare becomes reality as she realises he was a child she was supposed to protect. As her professional life gets harder to deal with, Jess is forced to come to terms with her own past when someone unexpectedly reappears. She finds herself crossing the line from investigator to victim, forced to question the very basis of her identity, and she can only wonder: who's there to protect the protector? Reviewed on this month's Crime Page

Elizabeth Corley: Requiem Mass

When Debbie Fearnside, a young wife and mother goes missing, police interest is minimal. She would hardly be the first woman to abandon a tired marriage. Four weeks later, it is DCI Andrew Fenwick, back from compassionate leave, who notices the set of coincidences that should have transformed a routine missing person's case into a suspected abduction. And by then, it's too late for Debbie. With Kate Johnstone, the situation is quite different. The popular school teacher has been murdered by someone who's an expert with a knife. When a WPC on Fenwick's team establishes an old connection between Kate and Debbie, the picture starts to change. It's more vital than anyone realises that they discover why the two cases are linked, for the killer has only just begun to take revenge for a long-forgotten death. And he is planning a cunning and spectacular finale that will put many lives at risk. Fenwick is caught up in a desperate race against time to find the murderer before he completes his bloody vendetta. As the death toll mounts, Fenwick stares failure in the face - unless he can draw the killer out of the shadows and into an unconventional and highly dangerous trap with the ultimate bait. Reviewed on this month's Crime page

Margaret Thornton: Down an English Lane

It is 1945 and the charming market town of Middlebeck is thriving once more. For fifteen-year-old Maisie Jackson, life could not be better; school is going well, her best friend Audrey is a constant source of fun and Maisie's mum is finally free from the cruel clutches of her now ex-husband. Best of all, Bruce Tremaine, who Maisie had been corresponding with throughout the war, is due back any day now. With unfamiliar butterflies in her stomach as she daydreams of Bruce's arrival, Maisie tries to still her restless heart and can't help wondering if this is what it feels like to be in love... Her teenage euphoria doesn't last long, however, as when her sweetheart finally arrives, he has a 'friend' in tow - the beautiful and determined Christine Myerscough. Determined, that is, to make herself Bruce's wife... Feeling crushed and betrayed, Maisie throws herself into other aspects of her life and takes on new challenges in order to take her mind off her broken heart. She soon realises that her life needn't be confined to Middlebeck and there are many opportunities in the wide world for someone with her ambition. Having found her calling and proven herself a success, Maisie convinces herself she is over her young love. But has Bruce forgotten about her?

Hazel Holt: A Death in the Family

Slowly I began to understand fully the horror of what had happened to that family, and the extent of Bernard's responsibility for it. More than ever, when I thought of the irreparable damage he'd done to so many people, I felt, with Veronica, glad that he was dead. Bernard Prior was never popular with the rest of his family. And when his second cousin, Sheila Malory, is warned that he is visiting members of the Prior family in order to research their genealogy, Sheila considers it nothing more than a bore. However, what seems like an innocent pastime soon turns into something more sinister. When Bernard dies in suspicious circumstances, family secrets start to emerge. It appears that Bernard's death is not as straightforward as it seems; while he is known as a bore and a bully, there is nothing to indicate any motive for cold-blooded murder. But someone clearly wanted him dead, and Sheila begins to realise that his research into their family history may have turned up more than a collection of old photographs. Never one to let sleeping dogs lie, Sheila takes it upon herself to discover the truth behind Bernard's demise. What secrets lie buried in the family past? And what will happen to those who try to uncover them? Set in the West Country, this modern-day Miss Marple is about to learn that murder can often hit uncomfortably close to home, and that appearances can sometimes be deceptive...

Jonathan Gash: Blood Dancing

The dark streets of Manchester's underworld, home to a horde of gamblers, drunks, prostitutes and their punters, plays host to a vigilante of the worst kind. Wanting to rid the city of evil, the assassin constructs a poisoned dart and scours the newspaper headlines for the next victim... Meanwhile, a young prostitute is viciously attacked and Doctor Clare Burtonall is placed in the unenviable position of deciding whether or not to terminate her life support. Switching it off and letting her slip at last into a peaceful sleep may be the kindest thing, but perhaps the girl deserves to be given a fighting chance for survival? As Clare contemplates the girl's future, her boyfriend - the handsome and intelligent Bonn - looks after the interests of the working girls on Manchester's seedy streets. A high-class male escort, he understands the tough and lonely world they inhabit, and does what he can to keep them from harm. But he knows the imminent release from prison of a paedophile back into the area will cause waves on his patch; a patch already besieged by an ever-present undercurrent of unrest and ripples of suppressed anger caused by the girl's attacker still being at large. A dark, gritty thriller, full of suspense, hope and fear, Blood Dancing is the latest in the Clare Burtonall series of mysteries by the masterful pen of Jonathan Gash.

Zoë Sharp: Second Shot

Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard, has a new client: a lottery millionairess mother who is looking for protection from a nuisance ex. When Simone decides to escape his unwanted attentions and the scrutiny of the press by going to America, it should make Charlie's job easier, what with the main character she is protecting her from out of the picture. But Charlie has some very bad memories from her last time in the US and from the moment they arrive Simone seems to undermine all of Charlie's measures for her security. As the action culminates in a shoot-out in the snow, Charlie struggles to get to the bottom of what is jeopardising her assignment. Reviewed on this month's Crime page

John Gardner: No Human Enemy

England,June 1944. Exactly one week after the Allied armies invade Nazi occupied Normandy, Hitler strikes back with his Vengeance Weapons: the terrifying V-1, Flying Bombs. In August one of these ‘Doodlebugs’ falls on the Anglican convent of St Catherine of Siena near Camberwell killing three nuns. Suzie is called out with her boss, and secret lover, Tommy Livermore when it is discovered that one of the dead nuns is not quite what she seems. The Reserve Squad is plunged into a situation of feuding families, strongly held political views that could be a threat to Britain and a final Nazi plot to bring about an endgame to the war.


Judith Cutler: The Keeper of Secrets

England 1810. Young Parson Tobias Campion is excited andnervous to be starting at the small parish of Moreton Priory. But his first night in the village brings excitement of the wrong kind when he has to intervene in the attempted rape of housemaid Lizzie Woodman. Even in the normal course of events life in the village is far from quiet, as soon Tobias has to deal with both violent and suspicious deaths which put his character and ministry to the test. But matters come to a head when Lizzie disappears from her employers. What has become of the girl and who is responsible? As Tobias searches for answers they find themselves delving into the dark secrets that haunt Lizzie’s past. A perfect blend of historical novel and sophisticated thriller    The Keeper of Secrets is a treat for crime lovers everywhere.

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